After an emphatic win over world No.21 Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Murray River Open, Britain’s Dan Evans has claimed his first-ever ATP Tour championship.
Following his 2019 Delray Beach final woe, where Evans failed to capitalise on three breakpoint chances, gifting the title to his opponent Radu Albot, the Brit made no mistake on court today to defeat his talented Canadian opponent 6-2 6-3.
Coming into the match, Auger-Aliassime has been impressive on court this week, sweeping aside France’s Corentin Moutet and Egor Gerasimov to reach his 7th ATP Tour final at the mere age of 20.
An impressive achievement for the powerful Canadian ball striker.Embed from Getty Images
Dan Evans also had a great start to the Melbourne Summer Series having not dropped a set all week to despatching world no.25 Borna Coric and France’s Jeremy Chardy in the run-up to the final.
“I didn’t play great in the first two rounds… I didn’t feel great at all. Hanging in, I found my level in the end and here we are,” Evans said in his post-match press conference.
“I played good tennis [in] the past three matches, probably some of the best stuff I’ve played.“
And he snowballed that momentum into the final, breaking the world No.21 late in the first set with a delightful backhand line shot to go 3-2 up in the early exchanges.
He served out the next game and capitalised on an error from Auger-Aliassime, to secure a double break that put the Canadian on the back foot.Embed from Getty Images
And taking just 32 minutes to win the first set, Evans bounded on into the second, breaking Auger-Aliassime’s serve early on.
The Canadian showed off his ripping slice, to defend against some of Evans’ brutal groundstrokes. But he couldn’t find his range, striking several misplaced shots over the baseline and outside the trams, which the Brit quickly capitalised on to break his opponent once again to go 5-2 up.
But Auger-Aliassime quickly responded, using his speed to break the world No.33 to strike a beautifully weighted backhand into the corner of the Englishman’s court.
The break gave him some confidence and continued to fight back against the Brit’s advances, saving a match point, forcing Dan Evans to earn his trophy the hard way, taking him to deuce before the British No.1 could strike a killer smash shot over the net to win the match, the Murray River Open, and his first ATP championship.
“It’s a good achievement [winning the title]. But the proper tournament starts tomorrow… I want to do well next week—delighted with how today went and this week, but it’s over now, and look forward to Tuesday,” Evans said after the match.
Evans will now face off against fellow Brit Cameron Norrie in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday, while Felix Auger-Aliassime will play Germany’s Cedrik-Marcel Stebe on Monday.
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